Diabetes as a Negative Factor on the Hair Growth Cycle

Diabetes is a problem affecting many areas of your life starting with the level of insulin. Why is the proper working of insulin hormones is significant for your life? It is because as a hormone moving the sugar from each food you eat from your bloodstream into your cells so that it can be stored or used as energy if it is needed.

However, not working properly of insulin might mean the fact that sugar you take from the food can build up in your blood.

That means there will be some excess supply of sugar in your body, which might damage your organs all over your body. It has affection surely all your body such as your eyes, nerves, and kidneys.

Even your blood vessels are affected by this change. since the blood vessels are responsible to carry oxygen around your body so that it can nourish your organs and tissues.

When you have diabetes, it means the working would be problematic in terms of delivering enough oxygen to feed your hair follicles and there will be some missing part of oxygen level.

Needless to say, the lack of oxygen has a negative influence on the optimum level of the hair growth cycle.

What Is the Hair Growth Cycle? There are three main stages of hair growth period: Anagen Phase, Catagen Phase, and Telogen Phase.

While the Anagen phase, the first stage, is also called the growth phase, as where your hair has started to grow properly, the catagen stage is known as the transition phase. This second stage lasts almost three weeks, which is related to less than 1 percent of the hairs on your scalp at a time.

When it comes to the last phase, telogen phase is where the hair prepares itself to be shed. Around 50 and 150 telogen hairs can be and then replaced by new growth daily.

The circle keeps doing after the third one starting from the beginning of everything is okay in the body and hormonal system. Although the pace and the duration of hair growth are determined by the individual’s own genetic conditions generally speaking it is 90 percent of the hair on your scalp growths in this stage averagely.

It is important to understand this hair growth circle so that anything wrong in the body system can be understandable to see whether or not the hair loss is serious. Diabetes is one of the reasons to damage this circle not to work properly.

This circle goes into a resting phase and lasts for approximately 100 days. When the phase is done, it is time for your hair to rest. As explained above, diabetes interrupts the process that slows down the hair growth circle and hair loss. 

To detect this problem, it is not necessary to observe hair loss on your hair scalp. It is also possible to see the loss of hairs on your arms, and legs, and other body parts. Even the hair grows might be slower than it used to be. 

In short, diabetes lead to hair thinning and hair loss due to the effects on the growth cycle of the hair by impairing hair growth, causing more hair to grow than it used to be, and lastly stopping new hair from forming.

Type 1 Diabetes and Hair Loss Problem

Type 1 diabetes, that is also known as juvenile diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes comes to the scene when you have a chronic condition when your pancreas produces little insulin than it used to do. Sometimes it does produce even no insulin, which will push you in trouble. 

This type of diabetes generally appears during the early stages of one’s life such as childhood and adolescence, but it is still possible to observe in in adulthood period.

The reasons might vary depending on the individual’s own history. For example, the causes can be because of genetics, family history or even when your exposure to viruses due to some other environmental factors.

To detect this problem, the complications you can realize as the early sign can be listed as heart and blood vessel disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, skin and mouth conditions, and some pregnancy complications.

However, the relationship between excessive hair loss and Type 1 diabetes, when it comes to the alopecia areata, is very rare.

It is due to the fact that alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder is affected by the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles, and the loss of hair on the scalp, eyebrows, it is not a valid condition for Type 1 diabetes at all.

Type 2 Diabetes and Hair Loss Problem

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes the most common type of diabetes, which lasts generally a lifelong process and makes you suffer from type 2 diabetes by preventing the body from using insulin the right way. In other words, Type 2 diabetes results in the insulin resistance for the patients.

The causes of this version of diabetes are too much glucose from your liver, extra fat around the waist, broken beta cells, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and bad communication between your cells.

Insulin resistance preventing the muscle, fat, and liver cells has a role in your hair loss problem. It is mostly related to the affection on high blood sugar since the cells can not take in and use all the glucose in your blood and more importantly your pancreas keeps producing more insulin than your body needs.

As an example, we can start with blood vessels. The fact is that blood vessel because of your blood circulation problem might end with the fact that capillary damage inhibits the growth cycle of hair follicles mentioned more detail above.

Dehydration is another factor of thinning hair especially when you have excessive stress in your life such as some transition point of the pregnancy and menopause period.

Here is the connection between is blood vessels and hair loss. It is because blood vessels are responsible for helping to carry oxygen to various parts of the body such as all of your organs and tissues, you would have a lack of oxygen when your blood vessels are damaged because of type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, excessive and sudden hormonal changes and other changes in the immune system to bacteria, yeast, and fungal infections might be combined with hair loss.

The Connection Between Diabetes and Thyroid Disease  

The most common pattern is to experience diabetes and thyroid disease at the same time for a person. Especially for those who have some certain types of diseases are more tend to observe it: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome, the risk is very high.

Thyroid disease has a lot of negative affections on your body. For instance, you can experience weight gain or loss in a short time. Or it is possible to have high blood sugar, and so on. Even those symptoms are enough to see the commonalities between diabetes and thyroid disease. Also, two of them have a negative effect on losing hair loss.

To combat with hair loss you can use some tactics for your good. For instance, you can take some medication in order to balance your hormonal level.

However, you should ask for advice from your doctor since it might be dangerous to have the wrong medication that is the most suitable one for your body system. It is significant because thyroid disease is a kind of problem-related to some hypothyroid symptoms.

Apart from that, you can prevent iron deficiency problem that is resulted by diabetes condition. It is especially for women in the premenopausal period by increasing your iron level with some nutrients rich in iron.

It would be a good idea again to ask for advice from your doctor in order to learn which nutritious food is the most suitable for your age and health condition.

You need to support your immune system in this sense by having a healthy diet rich in vitamin supplements. For those who suffer from hypothyroid problems, it is inevitable to gain weight.

You can use coconut oil in restoring thyroid health by preparing some mixture and apply it on your hair for hair growth and shiny hairs.

The other treatment way is to use sea kelp and saw palmetto to prepare a homemade solution to apply your hair regularly. Finally, you can comb your hair gently not to hurt, and avoid using tight braids, buns, and ponytails. 

The Connection Between Diabetes and Alopecia Areata  

For those who have diabetes are more tend to have alopecia areata that is a medical condition when hair falls out in round patches since the immune system attacks the hair follicles, which result in patches of hair loss on the head and even on other parts of the body

It is possible to avoid the highly dangerous consequences of alopecia by taking easily some precautions. To begin with, the first tip is about hot weather for those who love traveling in the summer season. You can wear sunscreen when you go on holiday or on an extremely hot summer day.

At the same time, you should not forget your sunglasses so that you can protect your eyes from the sun, as well as your eyebrow and eyelash.

It is also necessary to use some accessories, especially for summer seasons again. You can have headwear such as hats, wigs, and scarves in order to protect your head from the sun.

Subsequently, you should be very careful about eating habits by having a healthy diet to support your body and immune system with some vitamins, minerals, and iron.

You will experience that the rate of hair growth will increase when you keep having a regular healthy diet. The key point here is to have it as a fix and settled habit in your life instead of having it once a month or a week.

Hair Loss as a Side Effect of Metformin Treatment

Not every time the diabetics itself causes hair loss. Some treatment way of diabetics may be a reason for hair loss, just like metformin that is a medication to treat type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Metformin is a drug helping patients control their insulin and blood sugar levels. Of course, it is not fully guaranteed that you will suffer from hair loss after using this medication, but there are some examples to experience this bad scenario.

The link between hair loss and metformin drug is not limited to hair scalp but also you may observe hair loss on your eyelash and eyebrow from time to time. It is also possible to affect hair loss indirectly for this medication. The side effects of this medication might have resulted in this way.

The side effects of Metformin can be listed as vitamin B-12 deficiency, depression, digestive issues like bloating, irregular heartbeat, loss of balance, memory loss, vision loss, and weakness.

All side effects listed might cause indirectly hair loss that is hard to return and have the same amount and density of hair again since some of them are very serious side effects. You should certainly consult your doctor before starting to use this medication.

How Can You Understand That You Are Diabetics?

It is important to know what the symptoms of diabetics are. Here are the early signs and symptoms of diabetes for you so that you can take the precautions before the level of your diabetes gets more serious.

  • The first sign of it is hair loss which is not only the consequences of diabetes and its treatment way but also the symptoms. If the rate of hair fall is more than 100-150 hairs per day, you should focus on this issue more than you used to do.

  • When you have a higher level of blood sugar than the normal level is supposed to be in your bloodstream is another alarm for you to get for diabetes. As a result of this, it will be more urine production in your body, which will make you feel thirstier. There is nothing to get worried about but still, it is needed to have a precaution in a short time.
  • Your skin is also affected by the prediabetes period with some unusual changes that will not make you happy. For example, you may have dark patches on your skin such as patches of reddish-brown or yellowish skin. It might be because of the high level of insulin in your blood.

  • You may realize that people with diabetes get hungry fast than other people since hunger and fatigue are other signs of diabetes. It is because the body of diabetic people converts the food they eat into glucose that the cells use for energy. When the body does not make enough insulin, it makes people hungrier and even more tired than usual.
  • Unexpected weight loss is the next sign. It is not a healthy loosing of weight, but it is because the body can not get energy from your food, and start burning your muscle and fat for energy instead. It is a dangerous condition that you should start te treatment.

  • Diabetes might also influence your body in other ways, for example,  the increased risk of stroke, the higher risk of heart disease, and the increased risk of peripheral arterial disease. As well as those effects of diabetes listed above, nerve damage, foot problems, and eye problems are important when it comes to symptoms of diabetes.
  • The other symptoms of diabetes can be listed as numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, decreased vision, impotence, sweaty, chilly, confused, lightheaded or dizzy, and sugar in your urine. All are serious and dangerous symptoms. which would make you suffer from more than an easy hair loss. You should not postpone your health checkups!

Treatment Ways of Hair Loss Associated with Diabetes

To prevent excessive hair loss or even balding, and the other side effects of diabetes, it is better to follow one of the treatment ways of hair loss associated with diabetes.

To have a shortlist of subcategorized, there are some supplements and medications as a supporter of the immune system, the ways to fight with high blood sugar blood, eating habits to reorganize the body and hormonal system, and other tips to control stress level.

  • Some Supplements and Medications 

You can take some vitamin supplements to make your immune system stronger. To illustrate, you can take a biotin supplement or vitamin B complex so that it can help the rate of hair growth increase day by day.

They are powerful to regulate high blood sugars, anemia, and other autoimmune diseases such as alopecia and hypothyroidism. 

As a medication, you can use Rogaine to prevent the side effects of diabetics. For the best way of usage, you should apply directly to your hair scalp twice per day. It is what you need for the best result in the shortest time period for hair growth.

If it is approved by your own doctor, you can use one of the injections of immunosuppressive drugs to support your immune system attacking the cells on your scalp. The platelet-rich plasma would be also a good option since it contains growth factors helping stimulate the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles.

Lastly, there is another medication for only men, which is called Finasteride (Propecia). This product is used to combat male-pattern hair loss, not women. 

By taking vitamin supplements and medications, the thing you should be very careful about is not to take dangerous chemicals and medications. The best way is to consult your doctor to find the most suitable supplement for your body.

  • High Blood Sugar Levels

The next thing which is dangerous among the side effect of diabetes is the high blood sugar levels. Because of the negative effect on the hair follicles, high blood sugar levels might damage small blood vessels.

That is why you shouldn’t take your precautions against this one to have again enough level of oxygen and nutrients for your hair follicles.

You should fix the HbA1c at or below 7 percent s that you can improve the health of your entire body against diabetes complications, which includes excessive hair falling.

To provide your condition, you need to ask a piece of advice from your doctor for some medication. Apart from that, it is better to consume not processed food with refined sugar in your diet. In other words, your eating habit and diet should be healthy as much as possible. By doing so, regular exercise should be surely a part of your daily life. 

  • Eating Habits

Apart from Vitamin and mineral supplements, biotin is important in order to help slow hair loss in some people with diabetes. You can take biotin intake from many foods such as whole eggs, liver and kidney, and salmon.

The other foods that are rich in biotin can be listed as nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts, some fruits like avocado, sweet potato, cauliflower, and yeast.

  • Other Tips to Control the Blood Sugar

For those who have diabetes problem, here are some tips to regulate the problem. Monitoring their blood sugar levels regularly, and taking all medications what the doctor suggests are the first ones. Furthermore, it is important a balanced and healthful diet and regular exercise.

  • Controlling the Stress Level

To reveal stress is necessary for all the stages of diabetes disease. During this time period, it is suggested not to be alone and take the support of your close friends and family members not to feel alone. 

If you think that is not enough or there is nobody understanding well you among your social circle, now you should take into consideration to have counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy. There are no reasons to be shame on this issue.

Other practicing mindfulness using relaxation techniques can help you in this sense. You can register a yoga club or you can take a workshop for deep-breathing exercises to have a peaceful mind.

Lastly, you should be aware of the fact that diabetes (especially type 2 diabetes one) is a problem of modern society. The reasons are associated with our lifestyle full of stress, chaotic atmosphere, city noise and worries including unhealthy eating habits such as fast food and refined part of processed food.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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